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Posted on 23 January 2017 at 15:37 GMT

Save Liverpool Women's Hospital

The People's March for the NHS, London, September 2014, photo Bob Severn

The People's March for the NHS, London, September 2014, photo Bob Severn   (Click to enlarge)

The NHS crisis is growing by the day. Demand is growing but the NHS is facing huge cuts. For example the total number of overnight hospital beds in England fell from 144,455 in 2010 to 129,458 in the middle of 2016. And in some places whole hospitals are under threat. Hugh Caffrey reports on the fightback to save Liverpool Women's Hospital.

The threatened closure of Liverpool Women's Hospital has stirred up a storm of opposition. Barely 20 years old, this much-loved institution is under threat.

Those wanting to close it argue that it's out of date to have a separate women's hospital and that it would be better for women who need transferring to the Royal Liverpool Hospital if the women's hospital was next to the Royal.

These excuses aren't even paper thin. Campaigners point out that transfers account for less than 1% of women using the women's hospital, so while of course the 1% must be looked after, what about the 99% who benefit from being in a stand-alone hospital that currently is well-maintained, and not massively over-stretched or under-staffed?

The same can't be said for the Royal, which is about one mile up the road. And as it turns out, the 100 million 'promised' to build a new women's hospital next to the Royal doesn't actually exist.

In other words, as we've warned all along, this is a cost-cutting measure linked to the local and national funding crises in the NHS coupled with the plans for centralisation and privatisation. 'Moving' the hospital means closing it.

Massive protest is forcing Liverpool's political establishment to belatedly oppose the closure, which in turn has thrown obstacles in the way of the whole Cheshire and Merseyside STP cuts plan. The hospital certainly isn't saved yet but the fightback is having an effect. The next event is to lobby the hospital governors, followed by more protests and public meetings. We will continue fighting, inspired because we can win.

Similar storms are developing elsewhere in Cheshire and Merseyside against other threatened hospital closures. Devastating cuts are intended for our NHS, but it may well be that the Tories have over-reached themselves and could be compelled to retreat. We aim to build a massive turnout for the 4 March national demonstration taking place in London, and from there an even bigger resistance in every town and city to every threatened cut.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 23 January 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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